America is made up of proportionately more immigrants than Natives. This has led to a melting pot of cuisines across the country from around the world.
With the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, pizza came over with them on the boat. The oldest (and acknowledged as the first) American pizzeria was opened in 1905 in New York City. According to Pizza.com’s fun facts, each American eats 46 slices of pizza a year – approximately 6 pizzas each. So it’s not difficult to see why I picked it as one of the most iconic American foods.
So, when it comes to the pizza base, you could adapt the cornbread bun recipe. You could buy a premade crust or dough. Or make a different crust from scratch – which we did.
As for toppings, we chose local garden tomatoes, a green bell pepper, and sauteed nettle leaves. We decided to use nettles in place of the more traditional fresh basil or spinach and it tasted great! I foresee more nettles in our future.
Oh, and, of course, cheese! Much cheese. We used Asiago, Scamorza and Fior di latte (fresh mozzarella).
- 1 cups whole wheat flour (we subbed garbanzo bean/chickpea flour to make it gluten free)
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1 tsp dry active yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- Liberal pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 decent-sized garden tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- Handful of nettle leaves (but don’t touch them with your bare hands)
- Herbs of your choice – fresh or dried
- Enough cheese to feed your army
How you can do it:
- Combine crust ingredients and knead them until they form a firm dough. If too dry, add a tbsp of warm water at a time and then reknead it. You can leave it as little as 45 minutes to prove and as long as you want, really.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F/220°C/200°C fan/Gas mark 7 with a pizza stone already on the shelf.
- In the preheating oven, place the whole tomatoes wrapped in foil.
- Meanwhile, as the dough rises and the tomatoes soften and bake, sautee the pepper and nettle leaves until browning and wilted.
- Roll out dough until it’s about 10 to 12 inches in diameter, and then sprinkle crust with herbs.
- Mash the tomatoes roughly, slice cheese and add all the toppings on to the crust.
- Use a pizza peel to transfer to the stone in the preheated oven. (Or, if – like us – you don’t have one, clumsily do it with a couple of spatulas.)
- Bake for 15 minutes and then serve melty and delicious.
I made double the quantity so that we could have one pizza on Tuesday and one to bring for a family potluck bring-and-share dinner on Wednesday. I just let half the dough prove overnight and make it exactly the same way… But with even more cheese.
If you make this amazing pizza, don’t forget to share with #pacificnorthwestpizza and #CookingWithMummaAlsum